What is WiFi Direct Connect in Ice Cream Sandwich?


While reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Nexus we stumbled across an interesting addition under the Wireless & Networking settings: WiFi Direct. Not having seen that entry before, it warranted some digging.

First of all, the Galaxy Nexus is not the first device to get WiFi direct. Reportedly the Galaxy S (GT-i9000) has this feature as well, though it hasn’t been widely advertised since it was announced at CES in 2010.

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi Direct “is a certification mark for devices supporting a game-changing new technology enabling Wi-Fi devices to connect directly, making it simple and convenient to do things like print, share, synch and display. Products bearing the Wi-Fi Direct certification mark can connect to one another without joining a traditional home, office or hotspot network.”

Essentially, WiFi Direct adds a virtual access point to a device bearing that certification, complete with a version of Wi-Fi Protected Setup for easy connections. When a WiFi enabled device comes under the umbrella of a WiFi Direct “host” the “client” can connect to the “host” through the existing ad-hoc protocol, gather setup information using a Protected Setup-style transfer, then allow the two devices to connect. So easy is the WiFi direct setup, some have suggested it could replace Bluetooth in some situations.

What can a WiFi Direct “host” do?

A digital picture frame could allow digital cameras to connect and upload images.

A camera or smartphone could wirelessly connect to a photo kiosk to print high-quality analog prints of your digital pictures, without using an sdcard or cable.

A smartphone with data tethering could function more as a bridge or router (with more complex functions than simple tethering).

Smartphones and tablets could transfer files to one another (even large ones) quicker than over Bluetooth.

WiFi Direct devices can even connect one-to-one or one-to-many, and only one of those devices needs to be enabled for WiFi Direct — all the others just need basic WiFi capabilities.

Combine all that with DNLA (and no longer needing a router for DNLA streaming) and you can see how convenient and downright cool streaming a HD video directly from your smartphone to a DLNA-enabled TV could be — all without wires.

Very, very cool!

Source: Wi-Fi Alliance

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy". By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.